LDC Struggling to Accommodate Growing Number of Students

The Law Development Centre (LDC) is struggling to handle a big number of students due to limited space at its Kampala campus.

The Director of the Law Developement Centre Frank Nigel Othembi says that the number of learners joining the post-graduate institution has increased drastically since the suspension of the pre-entry examinations.

In the past, students had to first sit a pre-entry examination as a prerequisite to join the Law Development Centre-LDC. Although more than 1,500 students would apply and sit the pre-entry exam, just half of them would be taken up as the Law Council locked out those who failed the test.

But the exams were scrapped by Parliament in 2018 with legislators arguing that this would give change to more students to train in legal practice and ease access to legal services for Ugandans. In the aftermath, the centre said that the number of students had gone beyond 1000 for each intake.

Today, A total of 1,020 law students graduated from LDC. 800 of these were awarded the post-graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Bar Course) while 220 were awarded the Diploma in Human Rights and Diploma in Law respectively. Othembi says the number of graduates would be bigger, but they lack the resources and funds to expand their infrastructure and accommodate more students.

According to him, the centre generates about 14 billion Shillings from students every year, but this ended up at Uganda Revenue Authority-URA. He appeals to the government to consider putting much emphasis on funding legal education.

The Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka who attended the function as the Guest of Honour asked the management to avoid enrolling unmanageable student numbers. According to him, focusing on the numbers may water down the quality of legal education provided by the Law Developement Centre.

Kiwanuka also challenged graduate lawyers to stick to professionalism as they set off for work. He noted that the legal sector is facing challenges of misconduct; echoing the words of Othembi that every case of corruption in the country is perpetrated or facilitated by lawyers.

The Minister for Justice and Constitution Affairs Norbert Mao told graduates that their achievement is just a certificate of exposure not a guarantee of perfection. He added that graduating regardless of all challenges gone through confirms human values and alongside the skills attained, he expects them to choose what is right over what is convenient.

Bernad Owundo, the Law Society President urged graduates to adapt to the new changes, especially in the digital spaces, and put to use learned skills to expand their understanding and compete for the limited working space without ruining their good reputation.

He also appealed to them to identify work niches and as well stick to them despite the changing economy, it is better to choose a direction and as well stand by it.

“Failure is part of life but learning from your failures determines how you grow in life. And lastly, join the Uganda Law Society and the East African Law Society for opportunities especially associating with better mentors.” Owundo noted.

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